PR: Langston Hughes’ Poetry

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was a black American who was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a movement that involved the intellectual and cultural revival of the african american arts spanning over the 1920s and 1930s and used his poetry to address some serious issues in an almost light way.

He uses free verse a lot, only occasionally has a rhyme scheme and sometimes merges them. This is influenced by a white man called Walt Whitman’s poems (1819-1892). Hughes’ use of the words ‘song’ and ‘sing’ to mean celebration and his tackling topics relating to democracy, freedom, justice, equality, and dignity for all people were also influenced by the same person.

Hughes’ poems had different moods. For example: ‘Let America Be America Again’, starts off with a patriotic rant which is interrupted by someone who we can assume represents every group of people that have been discriminated against (poor whites, blacks, natives, immigrants, etc). This representative goes on a rant of his own that is filled with anger and resentment.

the free?

who said free? not me?

surely not me? the millions on relief today?

the millions shot down when we strike?

the millions who have nothing for our pay?

               ‘ Let America Be America Again’


‘Life is fine’ is a stark contrast; it has a rhyme scheme, organized stanzas, and even sounds like a blues. It is also funny because it is about how the speaker wants to kill himself. Still, things like the water being cold and the building being too high stops him which makes him realize that he isn’t ready to die or give whoever the satisfaction of his death.

though you may hear me holler,

and you may see me cry–

ill be dogged, sweet baby,

if you gonna see me die.

     stanza 8, ‘Life Is Fine’


‘Harlem Sweeties’ is just a light-hearted piece praising black women in a way that would definitely be deemed unacceptable in recent years and has no rhyme scheme or particular structure.

ginger, wine-gold,

persimmon, blackberry,

all through the spectrum,

harlem girls vary-

so if you want to know beauty’s

rainbow-sweet thrill,

stroll down luscious,

delicious, fine sugar hill

Harlem Sweeties

Furthermore, it is not likely that i would revisit this set of poems just because it did not peak my interest.




Langston Hughes PR

Langston Hughes (1925) famous for his poetry, novels, plays, and children’s books. In his poetry he touches on serious topics like: equality, racism and injustice, African American culture and religion (spirituality). It is interesting to note that most of the things he wrote about are still pretty accurate till this day. For example, Christianity, and how this was and is still a big part of African American culture today.

One of my favorite works was: Ruby Brown and The Weary Blues, because it speaks upon people that have to cope with their struggles in different ways in order to survive. The pianist  that “made that poor piano moan with melody” and Ruby Brown who was trying to make enough money, and had no other choice but to go for prostitution. 

As I was reading his poems, I struggled a bit adjusting to the language use and the structure of the writing. He also applied old fashioned language that is found offensive today.

He uses interesting forms that unite the reader and his people together, speaking for a whole culture. The word “me” doesn’t always mean singular form, in fact most of the time it means “we” which changes the passage completely. 

I found it helpful to listen to other people read the same poem after me, which gave me a better idea of the potential feeling and intonation it would be spoken in. Overall, his work made me more of an analytical reader and gave me a better understanding of African American culture.


Langston Hughes

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Maria Jose Villanueva Lacroix

Langston Hughes’ was  a very interesting poetry . For me, it can normally get really hard to understand poetry and to find it boring , but with this type of poetry it gets really interesting because this poems touch different controversial topics that are very present in our community, and sometimes we ignore them.

His poems share similarities regarding to the subjects of social injustice, racial discrimination classism, etc. And almost every poem that I read managed to get my attention in some different ways, probably this happened due to the way the speaker narrates the story and how it tries to catch ur attention wth different technicalities.

I think the author has a very peculiar way of writing which makes it somewhat difficult to understand. I also feel that his verses don’t have much musicality, however his frustration is noticeable in them.

These are just some of the ideas presented by Hughes, and though he might’ve provided some answers to these difficult questions through his poetry, these questions of ‘How can we change? How do we progress towards equality?” are still very prevalent today and when we try to answer those questions people get very confused or cant respond to that.

This poems were very challenging for me to understand because the language that is used is different from my native language, is not that I don’t understand the words, but this uses technicalities that are hard to understand

Reading this poems helped me understand and expand my knowledge about the African culture, also helped me to improve my vocabulary learning new words and finally how poems are structured and their parts.

Langston Hughes PR

Langston Hughes’ has a very interesting poetry. In my opinion, it can sometimes get really hard for you to understand poetry or find it interesting, but with his type of poetry you´ll never get tired of it.


What I´ve noticed is that his poems share the knowledge of this important subjects like: racial discrimination, classism, social injustice. Every poem caught my attention and made me feel some dark emotions when it comes to injustice towards other people, this probably happened because of the narration.

My thoughts on the author are that the way he writes the poems, it´s a very rare one and hard to understand, also his verses don´t have that much music so it´s frustration is noticeable in them.


The ideas he presented where quite amazing because he did answer the questions people made to themselves such as ‘How can we change? How do we progress towards equality?’.


Langston Hughes poetry is worth to analize since they make you feel empathic because of what happened those years to African americans and how they got to where they are today, I think mos of the people that have read this poetry think all of their poems are so good could also call them masterpieces.


Langston Hughes PR

Langston Hughes, an African American poet, is one of the developers of Jazz poetry. He is the leader of the Harlem Renaissance and has a significant impact on the revival of African American culture and art including literature and music. He is influenced by Whitman’s four aspects, free verse, optimism, the celebration of justice and equality, and catalogs. These four qualities are revealed in his poetries. I used to expect that poetries should have a fixed rhyme scheme, a rhythm, and fixed sentence lengths, yet Langston Hughes’ poems changed my stereotype of poetries. Free verse can be seen in most of his poems, I, Too is a notable example of free verse. There is neither rhyme schemes nor fixed lines length. The poem sounds like breaking sentences apart into different lines. Free verse also can be seen in the poem — As I Grew Older. Neither rhyme scheme nor fixed line length can be found in this poem.

Langston Hughes’ poem celebrates justice and equality and is surrounded by the theme — optimism. The poem Negro shows the quality of advocating justice and equality. In the poem, African Americans are not treated equally to white people. He mentions that the African Americans work hard for people by making an example — “Under my hands the pyramid arose.” (line 8), yet they are not praised enough as they should be. I feel empathy for African Americans at that time as they are discriminated against by white people despite the hard work they have completed. As an Asian in Canada, a North American country, I feel lucky that racism and discrimination have not happened to me.

I was impressed by the rhythm created in the poem The Weary Blues which deeply caught my attention. There is a “syncopated tune” throughout the poem which is mentioned in line 1. It makes me feel like it is a trailer for the poem, just like a trailer of a movie about what will happen next, which intrigues me to continue reading the poem. The rhyme scheme of The Weary Blues also allows me to feel the rhythm. The feeling and emotions throughout the poem are more relaxing due to the significant jazz rhythm. The diction is simple which is easy to interpret. This is my favorite out of all the selected poems because of the rhythm and the calm, relaxing feeling carried out from it.

To sum up, Langston Hughes’ poems amazed me by introducing a new impression on poems to me. I also admire his passion and optimism regarding inequality and racism. He reminds me to stay positive, optimistic, and fearless against inequality and raise awareness to solve social issues.


Langston Hughes PR

Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers during the Harlem Renaissance (period of time when African Americans had a big involvement and evolution in artistic and cultural activity), he did a big amount of well written poems that had always a deeper meaning and value that it could be appreciated at first sight.

During the time that was spent in class reading the poems wrote by Hughes it became obvious how he used knowledge about different periods of time and situations that happened to african americans to write his poems, this way teaching people about everything that his race has gone thru and was still going at the time. In his poems there are a lot of times when the use of imagery is extremly well used creating a bigger impact on the readers mind.

In my personal opinion, one of the best poems that were wrote by him is “The South”. In this poem he speaks about the civil war that happened in United States of America, 1861-1865, and the causes of it. He mentions how the south can be very beautiful but it is not since there is the existence of slavery and racism while in the north slavery had already been abolished making the north far more beautiful than the south.

Langston Hughes poems are all worth analyzing since they all speak about different situations that African Americans had to overcome to get to where we are by today, it could easily be said that all his poems are masterpieces.

Equality, Racial Justice, and Democracy in Langston Hughes Poetry

Langston Hughes was a famous African American writer who sparked a revolution with his artistic poetry. He is most famous for his poetry contributions to the Harlem Renaissance movement. Noble recognition for African Americans in his poetry provides awareness for racial discrimination, struggles, experiences, poverty during the perspectives of African Americans. Hughes uses poetry to convey the messages of equality, racial justice, and democracy .

One example of Hughes’ poems, I, Too, illustrates the theme of racial inequality. The poem takes a response of a white person, who is telling the black speaker to separate himself when company arrives. “They send me to eat in the kitchen /
When company comes,”  (ll. 3-4). This represents inequality for the black speaker who is treated differently only based off his skin. When people arrive he moves to the kitchen, away from everyone to eat by himself. However, he empowers himself with pride saying, “Tomorrow, / I’ll be at the table / When company comes. / Nobody’ll dare / Say to me, Eat in the kitchen,” (ll. 8-13). This is a call for racial justice as he declares that he will be granted equality for when other people come to eat. The message of pride and declaration for being treated the same way calls for equality. The speakers tone throughout this poem is irritated, an example  can be seen here “They’ll see how beautiful I am/ And be ashamed- /I too am America” (ll.15-17). The last line “I too am America” marks the reader for understanding the he is an American, simply the same as every other American.

Another significant poem by Hughes, The Negro Mother. Struggles of a black mother are seen in the poem. The certain choice of words in this poem portrays emotions of sympathy, an example can be seen in these lines, “I am the child they stole from the sand / Three hundred years ago in Africa’s land, / I am the dark girl who crossed the wide sea / Carrying in my body the seed of the free, / I am the woman who worked in the field / Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield. / I am the one who labored as a slave,” (ll. 7-13). I felt sympathetic for the speakers experience when she was a “dark girl who crossed the wide sea” (I. 9) The use of imagery also motivates this tone because we can imagine a little girl chained on a ship, stolen from her land for labor. “I am the child they stole from the sand” (I.7) Here we can vividly imagine  a young girl being snatched from her land to get chained on a ship. The weight of diction in “I am the child the stole” creates that tragic, depressing mood for the reader and sets the attitude of sympathy for the black woman and her experiences.

As a comment on black Americans’ experiences in America, Langston Hughes’ poetry is thought-provoking and influential. A marginalized community is captured through metaphor and vivid imagery, while their strength and resilience are also celebrated. Even today, Hughes’ work is still pertinent, serving as a reminder that we are all still fighting for equality and justice. Langston Hughes literature helps us remember why we still fight against discrimination and demand equality in the first place. Listening and reading the pasts of poetry will make us more aware. Based on the real life problems happening today it raises me with questions, what can we do to stop these problems? How can we spread awareness so everyone knows? Listening and reading, poems, books, watching documentaries, movies will create more global awareness, especially spreading it on social media. This will make us more globally aware and give us ideas to support and take action. Hughes’s poetry has granted me with even more perspectives that has made me more aware.

PR: Langston Hughes’ Poetry

Through his use of imagery, diction, and structure, Langston Hughes is able to convey a tone of optimism and perseverance. Through his writings, Hughes empowers marginalized groups. Hughes’ primary method of empowerment is tone. Hughes uses tone to empower in two ways, both as a voice of optimism, and as a force of condemnation for oppressive institutions. Hughes’ work raises questions on the formation and reconstruction of oppressive institutions, as well as the dismantling of these systems.

An example of an optimistic tone is As I Grew Older, “My hands/My dark hands!/Break through the wall!/Find my dream!/Help me to shatter this darkness,”(ll. 24-28). The speaker has been confronted with a dark, towering, and seemingly unconquerable wall. Despite the obstacle’s intimidating shape and form, the speaker finds the strength to break through the wall in pursuit of their dream. The optimism displayed by the speaker allows him to break a barrier to his dream. The tone of optimism is further evoked by the line, “My dark hands”(l. 25). Through this, Hughes praises the African-American community for its cultural resilience, despite walls being raised around them. Hughes does this by emphasizing the color of the speaker’s skin, and thus empowering the speaker and the African-American community at large. Moreover, the tone of optimism is also conveyed by each of the quoted lines increasing in length. The final quoted line is the climax. The speaker’s feelings of optimism and empowerment increase with the line’s length. The longest quoted line, “Help me to shatter this darkness,”(l. 28), is the climax of the text. The emotional and linguistic climaxes compliment each other. Further, Hughes’ optimistic tone is evoked further by the diction of the poem. For example, “Help me to shatter this darkness,/To smash this night/To break this shadow”(ll. 28-30). Hughes’ diction places an emphasis on the dismantling or undoing of obstacles. Hughes uses words with connotations of violent and chaotic undoing. This conveys the tone of optimism. Optimism is evoked by the speaker’s action of violently dismantling an obstacle to their dream being realized. Further, words such as “smash” have the connotation of destruction. However, after destruction comes rebuilding. As a result, the breaking of a barrier calls for the reconstruction of institutions. By pleading with the African-American community to deconstruct its barriers, Hughes evokes an optimistic tone. Hughes conveys this tone by encouraging not only the knocking down of barriers, but also by pushing for the reconstruction of the institutions that are the root of racial obstacles.

As a result of growing polarization, diverse perspectives on global issues are few and far between. This gap between either side on the pressing issue of injustice has grown exponentially. Because of this, conducting a meaningful discourse on injustice has become nearly impossible. As a result, action on the matter has been lackluster. While people are suffering, those with the means to end suffering stand around and argue. The inability of those in power to end suffering stems from the lack of meaningful, productive discussion on the topic. Those in power are not the only ones vulnerable to lack of perspective. I, too, have been without insight into the true nature of the sufferings of many. Because of this, I have not been doing my part to alleviate the sufferings of my fellow man. However, as I read this collection of Hughes’ work, I have experienced a change of sorts. Hughes’ works have given me insight into other’s perspectives of human suffering. As a result, I have to do my part in dulling the effects of suffering. An example of me attempting to alleviate suffering is working with the Global Awareness Committee of the SLC. Further, we have recently taken on a project to raise money for those victimized by similar injustices depicted in Hughes’ poetry.

Langston Hughes Personal Response

I don’t usually like poems, I do not find them interesting, I believe it is because I don’t understand them. These past few weeks reading about Langston Hughes poetry, analyzing these poems, and raising different type of questions have been stressful for me because I do not understand poetry, but when I get to class and the poems are explained I understand why some people would describe poetry as art,  with just a few words a lot is being said, you just need to understand the background of the story, which is what I don’t like because there are a lot of different references which I don’t understand, but when I do I found them really interesting.

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist, best known as one of the leaders of the cultural movement that was the Harlem Renaissance. He has a great impact in the movement of racial discrimination, he dreams with social equality, he uses his voice to achieve this, although high class society tend to be ignorant about people who they think are beneath them. A poem in which Hughes shows his dream is “Dream of Freedom” (l.19) “There are those who claim this dream for their alone. A sin for which we know they must atone. (ll. 5-8) This passage reveals that people with freedom keep it to themselves so they have more power, Hughes consider this to be a sin which they should compensate for. A poem in which he includes equality in is “Theme for English B” (l.14). In this poem he mentions how he is different because of his color but it does not change his preferences, “I like to work, read, learn and understand life” (ll. 22) and “I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races” (ll. 25-26)  This  passage brings up questions about race, identity and belonging. How does Hughes’ feel about his life, all he has gone through, his experiences have brought him to understand how life works when you’re an african american.

I have learned that poetry can be enjoyable if you learn to analyze it, there are a lot of different areas to discover in what seems a simple passage. I like how Hughes’ poems make a vivid imagery about what african americans went through, the struggles they had to pass through only because they were in a lower class. Today we are still fighting for equality, and strong voices like Langston Hughes help people be more aware about the importance of equality. I am glad each day we are growing as a community and achieving a greater future

Langston Hughes PR

Langston Hughes was a poet who lived during and was inspired by the Harlem Renascence in the early 2os. Many of his works used the theme of struggle for the black community mainly but also has many mentions of the struggles of many other groups. I very much enjoyed the collection of poems we were given. With each poem full of content, DRJs have never been so easy since I was continuously finding places using imagery and diction. He also continuously proves Mr. MacKnight point that poems raise question since I had about a million every class. The language used in the collection spawned many complicated conversations as well.

His use of imagery is vivid and captivating, painting pictures in my mind that are both haunting and beautiful. In his poem “The Weary Blues”, Hughes writes, “Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, / Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon.” These lines are a testament to the power of his imagery, as they capture the feeling of blues music and convey a sense of weariness and sadness that is difficult to shake. another good example is in “Ballad of the Landlord”, he writes, “The house is cracked / And nearly tumbling down.” These lines effectively create a vivid image of a rundown and dilapidated building, a powerful symbol of the neglect and hardship faced by the speaker and others in their situation. Hughes’ diction is also noteworthy. He writes in a way that is both simple and profound, making his poems accessible to a wide audience while still containing deep meaning. In “Harlem (2)” he writes, “What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up / Like a raisin in the sun?” The plain language used here belies the complex questions that Hughes is asking, making this poem all the more powerful.

Another aspect of Hughes’ work that I find particularly valuable is the questions that it raises. Whether he is exploring the concept of dreams, the experience of black Americans, or the search for identity, Hughes’ poems always leave me with something to think about. In “Let America Be America Again,” he writes, “O, let America be America again— / The land that never has been yet— / And yet must be—the land where every man is free.” These lines, and the poem as a whole, challenge readers to think about what America truly is, and what it could be. In “Ruby Brown,” Hughes raises questions about morality and the human condition. He writes, “She ain’t no angel, folks / She’s got some wicked ways.” This poem explores the complex and often flawed nature of humanity, and raises important questions about the way we judge and categorize people. As I stated earlier, this always lit my head on fire with questions to bombard Mr. MacKnight with every class.

In conclusion. Reading an learning Langston Hughes poetry was super enjoyable for me. From his vivid imagery to his simple yet profound diction, and the thought-provoking questions his work raises about light and heavy topics alike, he has made poems that are both accessible and valuable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection and it has become one of my favorite texts studied this year.


Personal Response to Langston Hughes Poetry

I really liked Langston Hughes poems because they talk about racial inequality and all of the problems African American people had to deal with  just because of there skin color. He promotes equality and also praises African American culture which was something that other poets at this time did not do. An example of this is ‘A Song to a N-gro Wash-Women’, Hughes admires the hard work of these women and suggest that the work they do isn’t easy and should not be overlooked.

Even though I liked the poems, they were hard to understand because of the language Hughes uses in the poems. This poems were written around the 1920’s, because of this the language is old fashioned. Some words that meant something then, mean something completely different today.

In conclusion, although Hughes poems are a little bit hard to understand I liked them because they talk about the problems that are cause by racial inequality in the US and celebrate African American culture.

Langston Hughes’ Poetry PR

I found Langston Hughes’ poetry very interesting. For me, it can normally get really hard to understand poetry and to find it entertaining,  but Hughes’ poetry has became an exception. His poems share similarities regarding to the subjects of social injustice, racial discrimination, sexism, classism, etc. And almost every poem that I read  managed to get my attention in some different ways, probably this happened due to the way the speaker narrates the story.

Hughes’ ways to narrate his poems is what I liked the most, because he shows his perspective about the situations and expresses very clearly his feelings about them such as his thoughts, carrying with influential and determined words.

My favorite poem that I read was Ruby Brown, because it shows the sacrifices that a black person had to do in order to get enough money to live and how the society decides to only pay attention to the facts and not the background of their situations, making an emphasis on how society is carried away by appearances and decides to ignore the origins of the problems.

Reading his poetry helped me to expand my knowledge about African-American communities, but not only that, it helped me to improve my english vocabulary, discovering words that I had never listened before and taught me to identify the different structures that a poem can have.

PR Langston Hughes

After reading the selected poems written by Langston Hughes, I can say I really liked the way the author wrote verses that incorporated how African American people talked. I enjoyed how he promoted equality and condemned injustice against the African American culture. All his poems have a message and a deeper meaning. From all the selected poems I read, I especially remember the poem called “Negro”. For me it is the for me it is the scariest but also the most direct poem he wrote.

After analyzing the art piece, he wrote, I think he reflected the history of Afro-American people very well in this poem. All the suffering they endured and all the deeds they accomplished. He lists all the great achievements of theirs. From Caesar to the Egyptians and from there around the world and still a slave after all. He describes the events in a most aesthetic way, if I may put it mildly. All the things he had listed were in fact huge buildings or huge distances that his people had covered. He communicates so much suffering and so much sadness with so few words. For me, this poem was a masterpiece and I’m happy to gain so much new knowledge from it.

You can clearly see Langston Hughes DNA. in this poem. It has no rhyme scheme. In fact, the speaker avoids the use of rhyme almost entirely throughout the poem. In other words, the poem is written in free verse. He starts and ends the poem with the same phrase as in the beginning and all the phrases starts with a personality or a job like worker, singer, victim, and “negro” all this relates to African American people.

Poetry; listening to the unheard voices

Langston Hughes is an African American poet who lived during the Harlem Renaissance.The diction and tone used in his poems provide insight into the lives of African Americans. This allows the reader to understand the hardships of their lives and sympathize with the speakers. The world in the poems resembles the world we live in today which brings up questions like what should we be doing to make our society more globally aware? 

Langston Hughes uses poetry to share the perspectives of oppressed groups of people  through the speaker’s diction which expresses their feelings on topics such as injustice. An insight on the speaker’s perspective on the hardships in their life made me  sympathize with them. An example of this is  “I Too”, in this poem the speaker is an African American who is not allowed to sit at the kitchen table with white people. The speaker’s tone is frustrated. He expresses this through his word choice “They’ll see how beautiful I am/ And be ashamed- /I too am America” (ll.15-17). These words “ I too am America” help readers understand the frustration of African Americans. But it also has the reader admiring the speaker for his perseverance, I find myself rooting for justice for the speaker.  A poem that shows the perspective of working African American mothers is “ The Negro Mother”. In this poem the speaker expresses the struggles of being a black mother. they go through to create a positive life for their children. The diction in this poem carries emotional weight which portrays the speaker as overworked, “ No safety, no love, no respect was I do”(l.16) and, “But I had to keep on till my work was done. I had to keep on! No stopping for me-”(ll.29-30). This exhausted tone makes the reader respect and sympathize with African American mothers. Lastly, the poem I found most moving “Let America Be America Again” shows the perspective of all the oppressed groups in America: the poor white people, African Americans and other people of colour. An angry tone is expressed by the speaker. It is created through the use of  ill- favoured words “Out of the rack and ruin  of our gangsters death, the rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies” (ll.79-80).  This passage emphasizes the exasperation and shows the reader a glimpse into how it feels to be oppressed in America. This often has the reader sympathizing  and supporting the speaker.  Langston Hughes cleverly uses the speaker’s diction as an outlet to share the perspectives of injustice in America. By doing this the reader can understand and have sympathy for the characters. These simple black marks on white paper give light to perspectives that otherwise couldn’t be seen by outsiders.

 The speakers’ in these poems are not just characters; they tell the story of real people. The people in these poems represent people in our world today, this raises questions about  global awareness.Their perspectives share feelings and struggles that are felt by many people today because the world depicted in these poems is similar to the world we live in today. The similarities between the world in the poem and today’s world are the strong prevalence of racism and injustice towards people of colour. For example in “Ballad of the Landlord” an African American is facing unlawful charges from the police. This can also be seen in America with the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality against African Americans. Due to the similarity between the world in the poems and our world today a question that is raised for me is what should I do? And what can we do to make our society more globally aware and just? And I think the answer is to keep listening. Listening to the voices whether through more poetry, other literature or social media. I believe this will help us be more globally aware and then allow us to act in a way which is beneficial and supportive.  For example in “ As I grew older” by Langston Hughes  the speaker states “Help me to shatter this darkness,/ To smash this night,/ To break this shadow,/ Into a thousand lights of sun,/ Into a thousand whirling dreams/ Of sun” (ll.28-33). Here the speaker is asking the reader to help him break the barriers that African Americans face while trying to reach their dreams. If we as a society continue to listen to oppressed voices and learn about the past  then we can act to make the future a place of justice and freedom. Reading a collection of Langston Hughes poems showed me many new perspectives which will help me to be more culturally aware.

PR to Langston Hughes – Kristina

Throughout this section, while reading selected poems written by Langston Hughes, I began to enjoy not only the reading of the poems, but also the way the author presents the very idea in the verses. Langston Hughes writes about the struggles of the working minority, people suffering from unfair labor and discrimination, and he describes it in a way that has a deeper effect and meaning to the message he is trying to convey. His mental impact, transmitted through poetry, is so lively and positive that it is almost impossible to remain unanswered. The author emphasizes the meaning of his poems using rhymes, various poetic structures and metaphors. Among his works, I especially remember the poem “Theme for English B”. In this answer, I will analyze how “Theme for English B” differs from other poems by Hughes.

I think the poem “Theme for English B” was one of the most powerful because it really touches on how black students can feel. This gives us an idea of what they might have experienced. This poem is very sad. A black student was afraid to write a page about something because he thought his white professor wouldn’t be able to understand it. The contextual significance of the poem “Theme for English B” lies in the complexity of how to communicate one’s identity. The theme of this poem is that two people can learn from each other, regardless of their ethnicity. I feel like it was a real learning experience for a professor and a student.

I liked the rhyming schemes that Hughes included in some of his poetry. The rhymes changed frequently and gave the impression of a smoothly flowing story with abrupt changes in some parts. At first, everything seems to be clear and consistent, but at some point the rhyming scheme changes and the story opens up from the other side.
I also liked the fact that the endings of Hughes’ poems could be not only optimistic, but also pessimistic, as well as open. This makes me think about real life, because life is not only optimistic or pessimistic, it is a combination of these factors and during life the end is always open.

Langston Hughes PR

Langston Hughes was a renowned poet at the turn of the 20th century of his grand influence as a social activist. Hughes wrote many poems throughout his entire career, combating and raising awareness of the discrimination faced by African Americans (and other minority groups) in America during his time. Although a common theme in Hughes’ poems is found (such as a first-person narrative and optimism), the style of Hughes poems never followed a certain style. 

Throughout Hughes’ career, he often shows a degree of optimism and determination in the face of racial discrimination despite the terrible conditions shown. In the poem, Let America Be America Again, “”O, let America be America again– The land that never has been yet– And yet must be– the land where every man is free,” shows that Hughes has a vision for a better future for America (ll. 64-66). Similarly, in the poem Harlem [2], “What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up like a raisin / Maybe it just sags like a heavy load,” connects back to the common theme where Hughes shows the effects of discrimination but a string of hope still remains. 

Although the poems of Hughes can be regarded as always sticking to a theme, the structure in which Hughes completes his poetry is often not analogous. Hughes main structure is from free verse poems with multiple elements, most notably blues, and jazz. In the poem, I, Too, Hughes uses a true free-verse poem. However, in the poem, The Weary Blues, “I got the Weary Blues/And I can’t be satisfied” is a direct quote Hughes retrieved from a Blues poem in his ‘free-verse poem’ (ll. 25-28). Although The Weary Blues, is a free-verse poem with the elements of blues, a rhyme scheme is incorporated sporadically. Another alternative to Hughes’ use of free verse can be easily noticed in the poem, Montage of a Dream Deferred, where Hughes’ had many African American speakers within the same poem. 

Reading through the collection of poems from Hughes, I was able to broaden my knowledge, regarding the discrimination faced by African-Americans in the 20th century. Along with the eye-opening knowledge I had gained about discrimination, reading and noting the collection from Hughes allowed me to practice and expand on how to analyze a poem.

Reflection on Langston Hughes

I admire Langston Hughes’s work. He is brilliant at creating images and using freedom and justice in his work. However, his writings did not connect with me or make me think and contemplate questions as much as other writings. I have never gone through the events that he and other African Americans have, nor do I wish ever to have to, so I have a disconnect and lack of experience in the trials of his life and experience. Another quality of Hughes’s poems is displaying the world around him and breaking down stereotypes of the time.

I found his use of simple, understandable words and sentences enjoyable, as there was little to get in the way of what he does best in his imagery and ability to cement his point. He focuses less on wordplay and more on displaying elaborate imagery that is easy to see. This is an apparent influence from Whitman and his free verse style. This effect works best in his poems of lists, like in “The Negro who speaks of river” and “Negro” where the effect of his use of imagery is the clearest to the picture and is unimpeded by anything.

His work did not provoke the same intense contemplation that other stages and poems have for me, but I think it has to do with the fact I was not the intended recipient of most of his writings. Having never experienced discrimination, a line like (There’s never been equality for me, Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.” (l.15-16) doesn’t have the same impact as a line like “And in that sleep what dreams may come” from William Shakespeare. Having witnessed loved family members pass away after a year of suffering from dementia and cancer makes a line like this burn into my mind like a hot iron after they were gone and buried. This line of Shakespeare raised questions I had never asked and gave me solace one day, for I would know the answer in the future, but for now, I could just ponder it and think of the possibilities. I got nothing like this for Langston Hughes, but I have not experienced racism and discrimination, but everyone is acquainted with the reaper.

Hughes’ work makes ample use of the problems faced by African Americans of the time and incorporates them into his work. Examples of contouring stereotypes like that all black people are the same using “Deferred” and lines like “This year, maybe, do you think I can graduate?” (l.1) and ”All want is to see my furniture paid for” (l.25) he uses these and many more examples like to make his point. Another example is in Dream Boogie, where “Sure, I’m happy! Take It away” (l.15-17) is used as a satire that black people are always happy and never unhappy.

I thought Langston Hughes’s work was brilliant. His effect seems to have influenced many people and is a shining example of the work we can create even under pressure and discrimination. Although Hughes has many qualities in his work, that was little for me to ponder as many questions and imagery went over my head as I had never experienced anything like it.




Langston Hughes – Personal Response

Growing to like poetry is angering. Something you never expected yourself to “get” is finally starting to make sense, and I’m asking myself, like in Theme for English B by Langston Hughes, “I wonder if it’s that simple?” (l. 6). We’ve covered poetry with a variety of themes, but no repertoire of poems have really stuck with me the same way I know Hughes’ poems will. He raises questions and sparks ideas that continue to be revolutionary. And as a newly found poem enjoyer, I got excited to come to class and dig into the poems we were assigned to read. These poems answer questions, and in their place raise new ones. What do we need to change? Why do we need to change it?

We need to change our past, so we can create a better future. Hughes presents the past of Black people, the mistreatment and injustice they face, and he notably does this in his poem N-gro, “I’ve been a slave: / Caesar told me to keep his door-steps clean. I brushed the boots of Washington” (ll. 4-6) and “I’ve been a victim: / The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo. / They lynch me still in Mississippi” (ll. 14-16). He’s presenting their history of being slaves and using the word “still” he tells us the continuation of this abuse. This presents to the reader what they need to change. But why do we need to change our future? Huges answers this in another poem Deferred, he presents all these scenarios of black people who want different things relating to education, “This year, maybe, do you think I can graduate? I’m already two years late” (l. 1), money, “Someday, / I’m gonna buy two new suits at once!” (ll. 27-28) and love, “All I want is a wife who will / work with me and not against me” (ll. 32-33). These dreams of black Americans everywhere are consistently deferred and put aside because of the racism engrained within the American system and white Americans.

Now we ask, how can we change this future? Another poem from Hughes provides some ideas for white Americans. For example, Theme for English B describes education for black Americans and the alienation between black and white. “[I go to school] here, / to this college on the hill above Harlem. / I am the only coloured student in my class” (ll. 8-10). We see the physical separation of educational facilities and understand in turn how difficult it must be as a black person to attend college not only because of the unequal opportunities but also the amount of money needed to enroll. So Hughes here is inadvertently promoting the right to easily accessible education. Once more in this poem, Hughes combats the common separation and segregation between white and black people, “Well I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. / I like to work, read, learn, and understand life. / I like a pipe for a Christmas present, / or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach. / I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like / the same things other folks who are other races” (ll. 21-27). Here, he presents a concept similar to his poem Deferred, by showing that black people can have the same wants, needs and feelings as any white folk could. He pushes back against the dehumanization of his race.

These are just some of the ideas presented by Hughes, and though he might’ve provided some answers to these difficult questions through his poetry, these questions of ‘How can we change? How do we progress towards equality?” are still very prevalent today. With the Black Lives Matter movement which is becoming increasingly popular and significant, especially in America, I believe knowing this history of retaliation against racism is very important to know. I would not be surprised if we see more poems by Langston Hughes begin to be used more commonly in protests. It’s good to know your history so we can move on to a better future.

PR Langston Hughes

I really liked Langston Hughes’ poems because I like the way he talks about how we are all equal and that we should all be treated the same. I like the way he expresses himself in all his poems because I feel that he really expresses himself very well, the messages that his poems leave are full of feelings, reading Langston Hughes poems, makes you reflect everything that people who suffered or suffer from racism had to go through.

Langston Hughes poetry emphasizes his experience and support of black Americans at a time when they were facing discrimination. Langston Hughes focused his work on the unfairness of life in America. He explains that all Americans, white or black, experience the same human values. He applied many themes connected to equality and fairness, he believes that all Americans black or white should be treated with equal respect and values. He concentrates on discussing the importance of belonging to his culture to a great extent, he focuses on the message that all Americans, white or black belong to the same human race then to the same country rather than the race or culture and should treat each other with respect, he demonstrates this in many parts of Theme for English B when he refers to being colored. In conclusion Langston Hughes discusses many themes in his poetry which black Americans faced in the past that are now being looked in a different perspective.

Langston Hughes: PR

Langston Hughes remains a leading activist in the civil rights movement, from the early 1900s till this day. He fought against all forms of racism and discrimination, and his methods of doing so made him stand out so much, his literature. Hughes is famously known for all his written works in which he promotes equality, condemns racism and injustice, and celebrates African American culture.

Although his general written works are celebrated and are highly regarded, his poems stick out more. An example of a well acclaimed poem from Hughes is, As I Grew Older, one of his earlier poems, and was written between 1921 to 1930. A big inspiration of Hughes’s works was Walt Whitman, a human activist, journalist, and the “father of free verse”. Anyway, Whitman’s footprints could be seen all over this poem. An example of this was the poem being a free verse. The lines are unequal, there is no rhythm, and no beats can be made from the poem. Another example is the optimism Hughes shows when he speaks about how dire his situation is. He speaks about his dreams being blocked off by an insurmountable wall, “My hands! My dark hands! Break through the wall!” (ll, 24-26), but he still urges himself forward against the overwhelming challenge.

There are obvious themes in this poem; racism and dreams. Racism is a major theme in this poem, as it is in Hughes’ other works. Several policies were set up against African Americans, making their lives much harder and as a result a “wall” was created. Dreams were also discussed. Dreams are born out of human desire to achieve something, but Hughes’ and other African American’s are being blocked. Hughes doesn’t specify but he makes it clear how much his dreams means to him, as he compares it to the brightness and power of the sun. “But it was there then, In front of me, Bright like a sun, My dream” (ll, 3-6).

Hughes explains his and many other black Americans’ circumstance. They have dreams, big dreams, but they can’t achieve it because of who they are, because of their skin. No matter how hard he works or dreams, his dream just can’t seem to come to fruition, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.

This poem truly embodies the essence of Hughes’ works (from the ones I’ve read), it discusses racism and discrimination, and the putting out of a fire (his dream), but he never leaves out the hope and optimism.

Oppressions, Poverty, and Racial Discrimination in Langston Hughes

The Harlem Renaissance, a social movement that emphasized African American identity and expression in the 1920s, had a well-known figure in Langston Hughes. Poverty, oppression, and racial discrimination that black Americans face are depicted in his poetry.

Let America Be America Again, one of Hughes’ most well-known poems, celebrates the ideal of the United States as a land of opportunity and freedom while acknowledging that this ideal has not been realized for all citizens, particularly black Americans. The sonnet proposes rethinking America as a place where everyone is allowed to live their lives and pursue their goals, regardless of race. vivid imagery and metaphors, like “O, let my land be a land where Liberty / Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath” (ll. 11-12) emphasizes the desire for a brighter future. Let America Be America Again perfectly exemplifies Hughes’ upbeat approach to poetry. You can almost hear the speaker’s longing for a new nation that never existed in the line “O, let America be America again” (line 61). a request in the hope that the United States will once again be free. “And yet I swear this oath—/America will be!” are the lines. show that the speaker has complete faith in you. ll. 77-78).

I, Too, another well-known poem by Hughes, addresses racial inequality. The subject of the sonnet is a white person who tells the speaker that he will eventually need to “eat in the kitchen when organization comes.” ll. 3-4). ” The speaker declares, “When organization comes, I’ll be at the table tomorrow,” demonstrating his respect for humanity. ll. 8-9-10). The line “I, too, sing America” in line 1 has a significant significance. The speaker is speaking on our behalf in an effort to convey the idea that all black people are the same: Their praise and celebration of America (line 18) resulted in the phrase “I, too, am America.” The poem discusses the resilience, fortitude, and unwavering belief in one’s own worth of African Americans in the face of adversity.

In Langston Hughes’ poetry, the experiences of black Americans in the United States are the subject of powerful and insightful commentary. He captures the pain and struggle of a marginalized community while also celebrating their strength and resilience through vivid imagery and metaphor. As a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice for all people, Hughes’s work is still relevant today.

Personal Response on Langston Hughes’s Poems

After reading a list of Langston Hughes’ poems, I found that his poems are genuinely impactful in spreading the impact of social and racial injustice in America, going against African Americans’ beauty and racial stereotypes and taking pride in his skin colour. Although I could not imagine how Hughes and African Americans had to go through, I can relate to Hughes as a person of colour living in a white society. Among his work, one poem that stood out to me is ‘Goodbye Christ.’ I will analyze how ‘Goodbye Christ’ differs from Hughes’ other poems in this response. 

The content in ‘Goodbye Christ’ is exceptionally different from Hughes’s other poems. Hughes usually describes his views and values through a story or a character, for example, ‘Ruby Brown.’ In ‘Ruby Brown,’ he talks about the injustice and racial problem through the pretty ruby brown girl in her town of not choosing to be either a maid or a prostitute due to her skin colour. “What can a coloured girl do On the money from a white woman’s kitchen? And ain’t there any joy in this town?” On the other hand, in ‘Goodbye Christ,’ he directly states his political standpoint and religion. “Make way for a new guy with no religion at all – A real guy named Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker Me – I said, ME!” From this line, Huges states that he is an atheist and even compares himself with different people like Stalin and Karl Marx; we can know his political standpoint- a communist. 

Other poems he wrote generally express the hope and optimism of the writer. For example, ‘I, Too, Sing America.’, “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes.” When readers read “Tomorrow,” they can comprehend that he does not mean tomorrow, but sometimes in the future. This represents that Hughes hopes he will sit at the same table as white people one day. It symbolizes Hughes’s optimism and means that he believes African Americans will finally be seen as the white man’s equal one day. While in ‘Goodbye Christ,’ we can detect that Hughes is no longer carrying optimism; instead, it shows his bitterness and tiredness towards the injustice in the world. “Go ahead on now, you’re getting in the way of things. Lord.” This line illustrates that Hughes himself thinks the lord has no use in this world and has given up on him and the world. From this, we can catch a glimpse of the anger and disappointment of Hughes on the injustice in the world. Therefore, the tone in ‘Goodbye Christ’ is approvingly different from his other poems that usually carry a positive and optimistic side. At the same time, in ‘Goodbye Christ,’ he only shows his resentment and anger. 

To conclude everything discussed above, ‘Goodbye Christ’ has a more significant impact on me than his other work because of the frustration and anger emotions that he displays in the poem, and it lets readers have a glimpse of his personal viewpoint. Besides that, I have enjoyed reading Hughes’ poems because it has given me a greater awareness of racial injustice and the importance of being proud of your skin colour. 

Langston Hughes PR

Langston Hughes’s collection of poems are very powerful and moving poems that combat and go against the racial stereotypes Hughes battled in his time. He consistently has a sense of African American pride in his poems, where he celebrates black culture, triumphs and history. In doing this he pushes his fellow African Americans to be honoured of their race and culture. Hughes also speaks about the dreams and aspirations that African Americans should have and for them to not be discouraged by the racial stereotypes set upon them, rather disprove and overcome them. In most of his poems it is the themes that he uses that really allow him to do this.

The themes that Hughes uses vary throughout this poem, but I found the most important ones were black pride, racial discrimination and injustice, cultural history and the dreams of African Americans. The reason these themes are so moving for the most part, was because there was a stigma surrounding those topics, especially for black-white conversation, this was unheard of. The stereotype for African Americans of this time was that they only knew the emotion of happiness because if they were to complain to white people it would make them seem ungrateful and upset the white people, which could lead to a bad consequence. For Hughes to speak about these stigmatized things was very courageous, and the content of the poems elaborated on these themes in very moving ways because he would use the poems to share the universal struggle of black people during this time.

Hughes’s poems successfully give the reader a sense of responsibility to try and make a change against racial injustice and discrimination. By using the stigmatized themes, it makes the poems seem more powerful because it was not common for African Americans to see someone take a lead like this and basically make a stand without the use of violence which gives a powerful message. To conclude Langston Hughes’s poems helped to begin to break the stigmatism around the universal struggles of African Americans and pave a path for other youth to start and make a change to a more inclusive future.

Reflection on the Poetry of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes, born at the turn of the 20th century, was an extremely influential poet and social activist for the duration of his career. Through his various works, he made an incredible effort to bring awareness to, and fight back against, the discrimination faced by African Americans (as well as other unfortunate citizens looked down upon by contemporary American society). These themes are the most easily noticeable recurrence throughout his various poems, but the ideas and styles they present are absolutely worth deeper examination.

Hughes’ poetry is extremely varied all across the board. Despite the similar themes and subject matter, of the ones I’ve read, no two poems sound exactly the same. They might have a different tone, or a different rhythm, or sometimes no rhythm at all. Surprisingly, although I personally prefer some of these styles over others, Hughes managed to write all of them with a considerable amount of talent, and no lack of emotional weight. Above all else, each of these poems is intended to speak to people, but in different ways. Some are intended for those at the top of the American social hierarchy, to make them understand the plight faced by all the people below them. Others are intended directly for those on the bottom, less intended to create sympathy than to inspire.

Something I personally found interesting (and appreciate) about these poems is that, regardless of how somber the tone may be, it’s rare that they lose their optimism completely. Life is Fine, which shows it’s narrator on the verge of suicide, implies that he found reason to keep living, ending with the phrase, “Life is fine!” For another example, Let America Be America Again goes into great detail explaining the wrongs committed throughout America’s history, simply stating that the reality of the nation doesn’t live up to it’s promise. However, it ends with the hopeful declaration that fulfilling that promise still isn’t out of reach.

In the end, I really appreciate the worldview and ideas Langston Hughes’ poetry presents, as well as the styles used to express those ideas. Any reader can tell that there’s a lot of emotion and talent behind these words, and considering the subject matter and time in which they were written, that means a huge amount.

Selected Poems by Langston Hughes

After reading the Selected Poems by Langston Hughes, the author made me look at how he is teaching about the racial segregation of black people that was happening in his time in America by raising his voice through poetry. It is important to know historical background as their meanings are specific and it has identification with history and the struggle of discrimination in those days. His poems are free verse that uses an informal speech that Langston Hughes combined, the language of jazz and the language that black people used at that time to clearly convey a message that evokes a feeling. He creates the feeling of empathy by using certain words that describe things that everyone has had like a mother, difficult times, a dream, the excitement of been a child in a candy store, etc. He also uses the word “I” and gives a different meaning to oneself like Whitman. Langston Hughes uses the word “I” to refer to the whole black community including himself.

I identified three main points that Langston Hughes uses, dreams, hope, and being fed up, not only to make clearer their suffering, but also to tell us about freedom. First, with dreams, dreams that are difficult to fulfill because of racism been an obstacle and dreams been deferred. He communicates the stereotypes of black people from the side of white people and compares it with how the life of black people really was, the injustice and their life being hard because they can’t get what they want, making them forget their dreams. Second, hope, giving positive messages to unite black people and to appreciate black people. Telling them that their dreams can come true, they need to stay together, hold on as there is always something good and it can be possible despite the suffering. However, as the poems explain their suffering, dreams and give people hope, there is a point where Langston Hughes shows his feeling of being fed up. Not only communicating to stay together, but also to speak up and end the suffering because what was happening was wrong. He shows how people were tired, sad and hopeless. To stop letting white people to oppress them and to really show what was happening. The three main points shows that the suffering passes through generations and he makes clear the word “freedom”. When he refers to the word freedom, he is not referring only to give freedom to black people but also, he expresses that freedom is for everybody, expanding to more societies and how it is what it will save us all.

PR: Langston Hughes Selected Poetry

After reading the selected poetry of Langston Hughes throughout the past month, I have gained new knowledge and insight to topics I was already familiar with, but not that knowledgeable about. I learned not only about the common topics throughout Hughes poetry (mainly inequality, racism and hardship) but also about how the form and structure of poetry can change how the poem feels to the reader.

In poems like I, Too and Negro the idea of inequality due to racism is very prevalent. Hughes’ invokes strong feelings and thoughts among the reader through his use of careful wording that gets a powerful message across. An example of this in Negro is,

I’ve been a victim:
The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo. They lynch me still in Mississippi.

The sensitive and uncomfortable topics Hughes raises creates emotion in the reader. Ideas of being a victim to cut off hands and lynching are very unpleasant and help get Hughes’ message across.

In poems like Let America Be America Again, Hughes not only talks about the injustice of racism, but also about inequality of all races, classes and anyone who has or does experience discrimination. He mentions the hardships of slaves, indigenous peoples and the poor lower class. As this poem shows, Hughes wrote for everyone  being discriminated against and all types of injustice.

One of the last big things I learned through Hughes’ poetry is how the form and organization of a poem can change how it effects the reader. Namely, in the poem Harlem Sweeties, Hughes uses a trimeter which gives the poem a more lighthearted and upbeat feeling to the poem. If not for this, the poem may actually come across as creepy instead of light, sweet and happy. Because the poem is describing how Hughes’ feels about some women, if it was a tetrameter, for example, it would make the poem more serious. This would cause lines like,

Brown sugar lassie,

Caramel treat,

Honey-gold baby

Sweet enough to eat.

Would just sound creepy.

By reading poetry from Langston Hughes, I have learned a bit about all of the techniques he uses in his poetry and a lot about what culture in America was like  in Hughes’ time. I enjoyed reading Hughes’ poetry because of his thought and attention to detail in his poetry. It is clear that his message is sincere and not about the fame or money, and that makes the poetry a lot more remarkable and thoughtful. Most of his poetry has a lot of meaning in it and can be difficult to fully understand, but nevertheless his poetry is memorable and meaningful.

Personal Response to Langston Hughes

Throughout this unit, reading the selected poems written by Langston Hughes, I have grown to enjoy reading poetry and searching for patterns and messages embedded within the poems. Hughes takes a topic and writes it in a way that creates a deeper effect and meaning in the message he is trying to convey. Using metaphors, rhymes, and different poetic structures he accentuates the meaning of his poems clearly. 

Hughes raises awareness on many issues regarding racism, oppression and the everyday struggles that African American people have to endure. I was aware of the inequalities and oppression of African American people but Hughes’ poems opened up a whole new understanding for me. Through the perspectives of African American people themselves, the poems show emotion and sometimes even pain. It depicts images of unfairness and lack of respect towards African American people. The effect of this pain and image of inequality causes me to feel for them and it also broadens my knowledge and understanding of the topic Hughes is writing about. For example in The Negro Mother, Hughes describes a mother talking about her own personal experiences being a slave. When the mother says “I am the one labored as a slave, Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave– children sold away from me, husband sold, too.” I felt sadness and sorrow towards her and couldn’t imagine going through what had happened to her. I also was not aware of how much slaves had to go through and survive, it was heartbreaking to read and even more heartbreaking to imagine a mother opening up and talking about it.

I enjoyed the rhyme schemes Hughes included in some of his poems. The effect of the rhymes was that it was so smooth and satisfying to read. The rhymes created momentum in the poetry and reading it was enjoyable. Another thing I particularly liked while reading the selected poems was that there was a distinguishable optimistic or pessimistic ending. I personally liked the ones with the optimistic endings and thought it was more eye opening when the ending left you open minded. For example an optimistic ending would be like from the poem Montage of a Dream Deferred, “I’d like to take up Bach. Montage of a dream deferred. Buddy, have you heard?” It showed a hopeful and positive ending which leads me to imagine a happy ending. 


PR to Langston Hughes

The poetry of Langston Hughes has lots of meaning and makes me feel empathy. Starting with meaning, I found that his poetry had a great impact on enlightening me about racism and inequality. For example in, The Negro mother, He tells the tragic story of a black mother. The poem gave me an account of how black people were treated and showed how horrible it was. On line 7 of The Negro Mother, there is one sentance which really showed me what people did to african american people. “I am the child they stole from the sand.” This put the imagery of an innocent child being taken away from their familly and then being forced to work as a slave. This is just one example of how his poems enlightened me about what African American people went through.

Langston Hughes also creates lots of empathy in his poems which helps to show you how it was for African American people. I found this especially in “Ruby Brown,” which is about an African American girl who is treated very unfairly. She is underpaid, a prostitute, no one talks to her. The whole poem just makes me feel for her and how unfair she is treated. 


Langstons Poetry is very smart in my opinion. He is someone who wanted to tell a message about how African American people are treated unfairly and show the horror of what they go through. In order to effectively send his message out to the world to inspire people to change, he did so in the form of poetry. Poetry in my opinion is quite fun to read and still able to capture the emotion of the message. By writing his message through poetry he was able to enlighten many including me about the challenges African American people faced.

Langston Hughes has very meaningful poems which have shown me how it was for African American people and how they faced racism. The poems sound nice to read but still have deep meaning. The amount I have learned about racism while enjoying the poems themself, makes me adore Langston Hughes’ work.


Langston Hughes’ Poetry Reflection

After finishing the selected Langston Hughes’s poems in our class my perspective of the Harlem Renaissance has broadened greatly. The Harlem Renaissance is a topic that I knew about from previous schooling, however, my knowledge of it was relatively shallow. I know of many arts produced at that time but none have helped me understand it as much as Hughes’s poetry. Hughes wrote poetry about the real world in each of the poems even if it was disguised as a hypothetical situation. His poetry was written to everyone with poems like The Negro Speaks of Rivers, and Negro written to the African American population. Poems like Memo to Non-White Peoples, and Deferred written to the privileged White population. And, poems like Let America be America Again,  and Life is Fine to everyone in between.

Furthermore, to understand many of Hughes’s poems you need a lot of background information. So, when reading the poems I would often have to research many concepts in the poem. This only further broadened my knowledge about the era, and helped me understand some of the other arts I knew from the time a lot better. With his long timeline of writing poems we also get to see how the ideas of the Harlem Renaissance changed over time.

Similarly, we can see Hughes’s ideas changing as he broadened the topics he would write about in his later years. His early poems being specifically about the African American population’s problems, while his later poems included more minorities and under privileged populations. We also see the influence of other writers build on him. The most significant influence being Walt Whitman. We see Whitman’s influence in poems like Harlem [1] where his tone is matched to what would be expected from Whitman. In his later poems such as Goodbye Christ, or Paper for English B where he writes from his perspective which he never used to.

The poems we read even helped me understand some modern media better. For example, from reading the poems I can understand more modern music made by artists such as the Wutang Clang, N.W.A, or 2pac better. These artist’s music is similar to many of Hughes’s poems because even though the message is not always clear in the different mediums they both relate to problems in the world. These different artists all have something in common in their art, which is the message they intend to deliver. However, before reading the poems off Hughes I did not always understand that. In short the poems of Hughes have not only helped my understand what things were like back in his days, but also to understand more modern media, as some people may have viewed the work of Hughes to be ahead of his time. This concept of timelessness in Hughes’s poems is what makes his poems still a topic of discussion in the modern era. His poems inspire people of all colours every day and will continue to do so long into the future.

Langston Hughes Personal Response

Langston Hughes’ poems are surely diverse in many ways. His works do not focus only on the big picture of black’s people hardship of life, but other topics such as the uniqueness of black culture, the figure of the mother and the commonality of life struggles that everyone experiences. These topics are most prevalent in poems like The Negro-Mother, Harlem-Sweeties, Deferred. First, The Negro-Mother, while the title suggests the hardship that the typical black mother has to endure, this can be applied in a more universal sense of figure of “the mother”. For example, “I am the woman who worked in the field…I am the one who labored as slave…I couldn’t read then. I couldn’t write” While mothers these days do not have to work in the field or suffer from racism or discirmination, it still goes quite far to say that being a parent figure is hard. As a mother, it is part of their responsibility to take care of children, work to take care of them, teaching them the important lessons in life, etc. It is never an easy job, which is why it can be so relatable to any mother in this world. “But I had to keep on till my work was done:” This is another emphasis on the heavy responsibility that every mother has to carry because no mother would want to abandon their children, so they always must keep going. Next is Harlem Sweeties. For instance, “Caramel treat, Honey-gold baby Sweet enough to eat.” In this line, the black women are being compared as food, sweet and delicious, which has a seductive notion to them. “Rich cream-colored to plum tinted black, Feminine sweetness in Harlem’s no lack” Hughes seems to be honoring the color of black women, that they are beautiful and unique, which goes back to showing how different women’s beauty is seen in the black community. Last but not least, Deferred voices the very humane desire of black individuals that are not so different from others. For example, “Maybe now I can have that white enamel stove I dreamed about when we first fell in love eighteen years ago.” This is the desire of a black married woman who wants a better stove in her house because back then, having to cook on a wood stove was very hard. This can be applied to anyone since maybe once in a lifetime, we all have wished for something better not because we don’t appreciate what we already have, but because we believe that new experiences can enrich ourselves. Also, “All I want is one more bottle of gin.” Once more, alcoholism is not rare anymore in any culture, as humans, we all want to escape the suffering of life through an escape and alcohol is one of them. “All I want is a wife who will work with me and not against me.” Love can be hard for everyone: finding a partner that shares the same core value as us is hard but to trust them and find the one who will stick with us until the end is probably even harder, which again, is not uncommon in any culture. All in all, Hughes’ work is excellent in its own right with many subjects worth thinking and questioning, as well as accurately reflecting black people’s life back then. 

Review on collection of Langston Hughes poems

In my opinion, Langston Hughes’s collection of poems is very inspiring and creatively showcases the life of people of colour and what they went through. Hughes emphasizes the struggles coloured people went through and the work they had to do to survive as coloured people. For example, in his poem “Ruby Brown”, he shows the miserable life of a beautiful young woman who’s dreams and goals were crushed and taken because she was coloured. As a coloured person with limited work opportunity, she had to make a living through a job that was frowned upon, causing her to throw away her self respect. Through this poem and many more in his collection, Hughes  shows how coloured people were downgraded because of the colour of their skin, how they  lived their lives with no freedom or justice, giving away their self-worth to earn a living. He emphasized the lives of women, mothers, children, and men who worked so hard for their generations to come. Hughes writes his poetry from different perspectives and this helped me as a reader understand the situation people of colour faced and the struggles they encountered. The imagery and descriptions used also had a tremendous effect on the poems and made them unique and very expressive. The different perspectives he used helped me as a reader understand the situation being described.

Reading Hughes’ collection really opened my eyes to the deeper struggles black people faced living in a world that excluded them from society, a world that treated them as if they were not human. I realized that these people felt like their lives were based on simple dreams that were unreal. The poem “Montage of a Dream Deferred” really opened up my eyes to the different dreams, goals, and wants that all these different black Americans desire. The fact that people assumed that they only wanted money and didn’t have dreams just showed how people judged and looked down upon black people. 

Not only did Hughes emphasize this, but he also had a very strong sense of racial pride which is demonstrated in his poems. Racial pride in Hughes’s poetry and jazz music are inextricably linked. In fact, he invented the phrase “jazz poetry” to describe a type of poetry in which the poem’s rhythm mimics the sounds of jazz music when spoken aloud. Racial pride was shown through being hopeful and expressing the black American culture. 

Overall his poems appealed to me because they supported equality, opposed racism and injustice, and celebrated African American culture, comedy, and spirituality, among many other aspects. He also talks about experiences being black and living in America, as well as universal themes of identity and belonging in the modern world. I think that all of his poems can appeal to anyone of any race, showing that no matter what, whether you are black, purple, or yellow, it should not impact how you live your life because, in the end, we are all humans. 


Langston Hughes personal response

Langston Hughes was a star poet as well as an activist during the 19th century. His poems were inspired by Walt Whitman and were free verse which was unusual for the times. Langston Hughes was also known as being inspired by the blues and wrote on behalf of the African American community in the USA. His writing took on a more ecologically valid point of view later on as he started vouching for all repressed people.

Harlem Sweeties is an example of Hughes’s writing, which comes to life and moves people to think a certain way. The poem Harlem Sweeties caused people around the world but mainly in America to adapt their beauty standard and instead find beauty in women of color as well as in white women during the mid-19th century. “Pale, almost translucent skin, rosy cheeks, crimson lips, white teeth, and sparkling eyes.” As said by Jessica Cale when describing the beauty standard of the 19th century. Harlem Sweeties triggers people’s beauty standards to change and accept a broader beauty. Harlem Sweeties makes use of imagery in the sense that it describes people as candy and dessert, “Brown sugar lassie, Caramel treat, Honey-gold baby”. (Line 5-7). The sweetness of these types of foods figures as the beauty of the woman that Hughes sees in Harlem.

Goodbye Christ is one of Hughes’s more popular poems which brings out his personal opinions never seen. The mood of Goodbye Christ is angry and sad, it is like he is losing hope in the future of the world and becoming depressed. “Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME–”. (Line 24). His view in politics is announced. During this time many intellectuals saw hope in Communism and the public did not know of the many millions that had died at Stalin’s hands. To them, Communism was an ideal society in which property is publicly owned and everyone works and is paid due to their ability and needs. Today we see that the ideal world of Communism is nearly impossible, and that is why people no longer strive for it in the United States of America.

I enjoyed reading Langston Hughes’s poems because of his use of imagery and the lack of structure. The lack of structure made the poems more entertaining to read and kept me interested. Langston Hughes wrote in order to promote equality and fight against repression. This made me more interested in his writing, and is another reason why these poems became so famous.





Works cited

Drop dead gorgeous: 19th century beauty tips for the aspiring consumptive. Dirty, Sexy History. (2018, December 5). Retrieved January 31, 2022, from

Selected Poems by Langston Hughes:IB English A Literature Mr. Macknight.

Langston Hughes Poems Personal Response

This collection of Langston Hughes poems, although I cannot empathize with the people being described, still convey a whole world of meaning. From metaphors to comparisons, the poems are meaningful to me.

Langston Hughes writes about oppression and racism against African American people in the twentieth century. Even though I cannot empathize with these people I still know how horrible racism is and feel terrible for them. One poem in particular “ruby brown” has a heartbreaking metaphor which explains how the character in the poem “Ruby Brown” has no fuel to power the flame of joy in her heart. Literary devices like these are what help made Langston Hughes’ poems so powerful to me when I read them.

Langston Hughes is passionate about what he writes about. His poems are always about the dreams, racial injustice, and most importantly black pride. Many, if not all, African American people have dreams, and social injustice is not letting them achieve these dreams. One of the poems is even an excerpt from a book of poems called “montage of a dream deferred”. This means a dream which is being/has been postponed. When reading the poems I noticed these factors and I felt terrible for these people. They helped me really realize how horrible racism was. I had never really had it described in this way before.

One thing that I do not like about this collection of poetry, or Langston Hughes’ poetry in general is that it is written in free verse. There is no specific rhyme scheme so the poems just sound like him talking and describing things. I wish he would have written with a few more rhymes to make the poem have more of a melody. This would have given me more enjoyment when reading more of the poems.

One more thing that I like about this group of poems is that it is written from different perspectives. I did not know some of the situations that black Americans have been in and these poems helped paint the pictures in my head. Some are written from the perspective and lives of mothers and women. Some are written from the perspective of a man. These poems helped me understand both points of view.

Langston Hughes’ poems, which are are mostly about discrimination, are intertwined with optimism which shows that these people do indeed have dreams to chase and things they enjoy. This gives the poems a happier feel so I was in a better mood while reading them. At the end of one poem in particular, “deferred” from “Montage of a Dream Deferred”, the stanzas become one line each and each stanza is a sentence saying what someone wants. This is a smart addition to the poem as it shows the diversity of of African American people. They all have different wants and needs. One of them even says “I’d like to take up Bach” which was not exactly the norm for African Americans at the time. I knew that African Americans during slave times had these wants and dreams but I had never really thought hard about how they were being deferred until I read this poem, and other poems in the collection.

I usually do not like reading poetry but Langston Hughes shows a lot of passion in his writing, and included details that make the poems more worthwhile and interesting to me.